Highly ironic that just as I sail into my sixth decade on this planet I have my first authentic experience of We Found Something Else during a talk with a doctor. Some of my older readers will know this phenomenon very well: you’re talking to a medical professional about a problem you’ve had and they explain that their testing uncovered another problem. In my case, I was in the middle of getting some bad news about my left wrist (Cliffs Notes: the bone isn’t going to heal correctly) when I was told that they also found some nerve damage in my arms.
Cue an early-morning appointment with a bunch of electrodes and needles. “You have some real problems at both inside elbows. Do you know if anything ever happened to you there?”
“Look at the texture of the skin in that area,” I replied, “because that’s what you get when you land on your inside elbows a hundred-plus times, following some sort of cycling mishap.” There’s some surgery that could fix it. Ninety-nine percent chance of improvement, I’m told. One percent chance of making it worse. Since we’ve shut down the whole country for something with a 99.9% survival rate, I’m thinking one percent sounds pretty scary. In any event I don’t have time for two nerve surgeries right now, so we will, ahem, continue to monitor the situation.
As of last night, however, I am back on my bike in earnest, having survived an evening with the kid at Ray’s indoor MTB park in Cleveland. The wrist worked pretty well. It is a little painful on each landing, but I’m not bothered by that. The problem would be if the pain was followed by weakness, the way it is when you have a bad tendon or ligament in a joint. And that’s barely the case. Truthfully, I’m hardly riding any worse than I would be if I took eight weeks off just at random.
Which leads me to a few thoughts about reliabilty. In people, in everything else.